On paper, Tokelau is a non-governing state that is dependent on New Zealand. However, in practice, Tokelau relies on a system that is based on a traditional form of government where the Ulu-o-Tokelau (head of state) holds power over the atolls.

Tokelau does not have general elections. Instead, they appoint their leaders from the three villages on the island. Their parliament comprises of 21 members elected on a three-year term from the three atolls (Atafu, Nukunonu, and Fakaofo). The cabinet, called Taupulenga, is drawn from three village leaders (Faipule) and three village mayors (Pulenuku). The six of them come together to elect the Head of government called Ulu. Ulu is picked every year, and it rotates between the leaders (Faipule and Pulenuku) of the three atolls.

The islands administrators hold no official residences. The parliament (Fono) meets annually in the three atolls on a rotational basis. The leaders of Tokelau majorly dwell and operate from their homes but meet occasionally in the atolls on a rotating basis.


There are no active political parties in Tokelau.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018